Interview with the Outgoing South Pole Winter-over
SOUTH POLE, ANTARCTICA– Well, after numerous weather delays, I arrived at the South Pole on October 27th. Initially I was suppose to be flying in on a DC-3 Basler but as you quickly learn here plans change on a dime, and ended up flying in on a Hercules LC-130. There were 40 of us on the plane and the weather forecast for us actually being able to land was looking grim. However, to our surprise (and relief), we did land.
The previous winter-overs running the Atmospheric Research Observatory, LTJG Marc Weekley and engineer Patrick Cullis (aka Cully), were there to greet me at the ski-way, and help me with my bags. Winter-overs are people who stay on station for the 8-9 long months in which there are no flights into or out of the Pole. Temperatures are just too cold during this period for flights. Many winter-overs like Marc and Cully spend the S. Hemispheric summer months here as well making it a full year. After a few days of turnover with Marc and Cully (who were extremely patient and helpful for having just spent a winter in isolation), I was able to catch up with Marc for an interview on his thoughts, feelings and advice on spending a year at the South Pole.
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Photos courtesy of:
Patrick Cullis, all aurora shots
Brian Vasel, the tower with low sun
Emrys Hall, view of ARO from tower
ME, the plain looking shot of the tower